"I'm not involved in it, and really, the Provost is not involved in it." ...
"There were four grievances filed, against the former dean and none of them really made it to my desk as a problem."
And if Ramsey didn't see any real problems, why not?
As PageOne Kentucky reported, in 2005 the College of Education and Human Development was responsible for 42% (13) of faculty grievance consultations campus-wide. The 2006 report from Faculty Grievance Officer Suzanne Meeks showed that 15 (56%) of the 27 grievance consultations that took place were from the CEHD. Meeks confirmed in her letter that the Provost was very well aware of the problems.
Due to the number of consultations from CEHD, and the level of negative affect associated with those consultations, I have worked with the Provost’s office to recommend that they use administrative mechanisms to restore morale, faculty governance, and collegial interaction there. Although I believe interventions have been attempted, it is not be sense that they have yet been effective.
Again in 2007 more than 33% of the grievance consultations on campus came from the College of Education.
Meeks reported to the Faculty Senate,
As with previous years, a disproportionate number of consultations have related to the College of Education and Human Development (one-third). Over the three years of my tenure as FGO, I have consulted with at least one-third of the CEHD faculty. Throughout this time, I have heard talk of retaliation against faculty members who file grievances or requests for mediation. The majority of those I have spoken with are not willing to file grievances because of this fear of retaliation, which extends to those who testify at grievance hearings as well. This situation demonstrates a significant weakness in the grievance system, in that there is no way to prevent such retaliation when one files a complaint against someone who has the power to determine work load agreements and salary increases, approve expenditures, and allocate resources.
Is Ramsey suggesting he and Provost Shirley Willihnganz were unaware of faculty senate proceedings? Both admitted they discounted the rare "no confidence" taken against Felner.
More likely, they didn't want to see the complaints as "a problem" - therefore, they weren't. In their minds Felner deserved credit for raising CEHD's ranking in US News and World Report. In his now famously unfortunate quip, Ramsey reduced such complaints to "anonymous crap." Calling faculty who were afraid to put their names on such complaints “cheap,” Ramsey credited Felner with “bringing about change that needed to be made.”
Willihnganz acknowledged that "the heat on this one is on us."
Now Ramsey says, "We're taking this very seriously," and called the whole episode "an opportunity to improve."
In an August letter, Ramsey assured the university community that an audit would take place. Now, the quality of that audit is being called into question. Page One Kentucky now reports,
Thanks to open records requests, we have been able to determine that there isn’t an audit per se. ...What is available, however, is a PowerPoint presentation from [Cotton + Allen] given to the Board of Trustees. It’s ‘Grants Management Internal Control - Preliminary Report to the Board of Trustees.’See it here.
Meanwhile, WLKY reports, a federal judge will hear arguments on March 25th about whether to suppress evidence in Felner's fraud case. Judge Charles R. Simpson also ruled against a separate motion asking him to suppress evidence taken from Felner's new office at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.